On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it’s getting into the ephemeral-image-sharing game with the launch of Facebook Stories, a feature that lets you share collections of images and videos for brief bursts of time, à la Snapchat and Instagram. Users are asking, “Can you see who views your Facebook Story?” This is an important question. After all, as with a tree falling in a forest, if a Facebook Story gets posted and no one is there to see it, did it ever truly exist in the first place? If you can’t see who views your Story, how can you be sure that you’re not just screaming into the void? HOW CAN LIFE HAVE MEANING AT ALL?
My friends, you can all breathe a sigh of relief: Yes, you can see who views your Stories, as well as how many people view them in total. Existential crisis averted.
In all seriousness, it is very annoying to post something on social media and then not know if it has reached its intended audience, or any audience at all. With Facebook Stories, you’ll be able to see both how many people have viewed your Stories and the names of individual viewers. Like Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook will allow people to view Stories for 24 hours.
When you post a Story, it’ll automatically be available to all of your friends, and will show up in the Stories bar at the top of their newsfeeds on the mobile app (just like in Instagram). If you’ve blocked someone on Facebook, he or she will not be able to see your Story.
If you want more control over who can see your Stories, Facebook has set up another feature, called “Direct.” Direct is an in-app messaging platform that lets you send images and videos to people you select. As with Stories, images and videos shared on Direct are temporary; when you send one, your friends will be able to view it, comment on it, and replay it once. It will disappear within 24 hours.
Facebook is motivating users to make Stories and use Direct by making photos more awesome. Today’s Stories launch included the introduction of a new in-app camera that (like Snapchat and Instagram) allows users to add special effects and filters to their images and videos. Facebook has partnered with brands including Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to create filters and masks.
Facebook started rolling out Stories, Direct, and the new camera today, but the update hasn’t yet reached every user. If you haven’t gotten it, keep checking the App Store for any Facebook updates.